Completely Machinima S2 Ep 41 Films (July 2022)

In this episode, Tracy, Damien and Phil discuss another great selection of recently released films from creators using a diverse range of engines. Firstly, two films inspired by the recent release of Top Gun Maverick: a British take on the story followed by a trailer of the movie remade in a serious flight sim – to which Tracy asks ‘why?’ and Phil responds with his best Rocky impression. Then films made in Mech, Star Citizen and Unreal Engine 5 - meantime, the team are expecting good news in the near future (Ricky’s escape from Elden Ring).

Damien Valentine, Tracy Harwood, Phil Rice

Tracy Harwood 00:05
Welcome to the July 2022 episode of our films review of the And Now For Something Completely Machinima podcast. Again today we're a team of three. I'm Tracy Harwood and I'm joined by Damien Valentine. And Phil Rice.

Phil Rice 00:22
I will say my greeting Damien was talking about Star Wars earlier. So I'll I'll do a live live long and prosper.

Tracy Harwood 00:34
Wonderful. Alright, clever. I love how

Phil Rice 00:37
I totally screwed up the kid trying to teach me how to dab. Oh, just forget about it. My hands are all over the place. I'm doing

Tracy Harwood 00:48
Great. Yeah. Anyway, Ricky is once again, not with us, he is still finishing Elden Ring. It's been forever. And we are really looking forward to him joining us again next month. Now we've got some fantastic films to share with you once again. So let's crack straight on with that. And Damien, I think we're gonna go straight to you. And I have to say, I think you've got a very timely, a couple of releases for us.

Damien Valentine 01:21
Yeah, there's a very specific theme to both of my choices. This was the first one I actually found by accident, I wasn't looking for a film to choose from when I came across this. I recently went to see the new Top Gun Maverick film, I really enjoyed it. So it's looking at Top Gun films on YouTube. And the first one I came across was, what if Top Gun as in the original film was a British film. And it's kind of a combination of live action for the actual scenes with the actors and but then the actual flying sequence. They used a flight simulator, which I couldn't identify which game it was, so I have no idea which flight simulator it was. And what they've done is over the course of three videos, they've recreated the original, roughly more or less the original film with a focus on the action sequences rather than the romance in fact, there's even a joke at one point where they make fun of themselves for not including the romantic scenes. And you know, that's fair enough because they want to do it as an all action video and I really entertained by it because they did a pretty good job of doing the story but they made it funny and the Britishness of it as well. It's kind of not what you expect from Top Gun so what do you guys think?

Tracy Harwood 02:52
Shall I go next? Well, I have to say that very long, and I do mean very long. What was it two minutes 20 seconds advert for their sponsors totally threw me at the start. I was I was basically expecting a bit of Top Gun stuff. And there was none of that. Anyway, I thought it had great humour with the with the racquet sports in the rain too. Which of course you know, as this episode goes out, we're into Wimbledon at the moment here in in Blighty. Really lots of very British culture stereotype in jokes which I guess if you don't, if you know if you don't know the British culture, in jokes, and possibly that might kind of pass you by. I thought it was almost as badly edited together as the jokes of which they really are quite a lot. But actually, the two of those things together made it quite an enjoyable watch somehow, the editing style, the real acting and the Machinima and the parody style kind of mix together. It's it's quite fun. And nothing of course, like a parody of the film but a riff on everything everyone knows about the Brits - awful haircut, bad teeth included the weather, the technology, the language, plus the odd bit of English countryside and nature encounter. I really quite liked it.

Phil Rice 04:23
I was thrown by the I got about 60 seconds into the the opening sponsor video and just thought why did Damien is this late? What is this? And then I happened to hover over the timeline and it shows chapter breakdowns for that. And I Oh, okay, so this is a sponsored bit. And yeah, two minutes 20 seconds. So then the movie proper, you know, fast forwarded. And the movie proper started and about 60 seconds into that I was like, why did Damien send us this link? Because it took little while before the before the shots came in where I realised okay, this is this is introducing some flights and stuff in the background. And I couldn't identify the simulator either Damien we need to get what's his name Russell? Russell probably spot it in three seconds flat as he's his last name is totally slipping my mind right now but he has worked done all kinds of stuff with the different flight sims. But anyway, um, yeah, you know, it was it had the feel. I think what saved this film is that it? It clearly didn't take itself too seriously. They were just friends having fun. And the tone of it as as kind of silly. And yeah, some of the British stuff went over my head. Some of it didn't, I'm probably a little more aware than then some would be. But there was some of it that I just, I've got, I've kind of gotten used to that, that if I ever watch you know, British comedy, their stuff I'm not gonna get as an American. And I've just kind of gotten used to that. I love but but what I do get I love so much that I keep watching it. So. And this this, this was right, it just sat right neatly in that pocket. I thought that the use of the footage was a clever way to do really the only technical thing that that was, I think needed on this. And yeah, it was it was it was fun, and just a kind of a light hearted and clever way to make use of that.

Damien Valentine 06:48
I'm glad you enjoyed it. Just for the sake of our audience. I chose part two because it had the most flight sequences in it. I was going to do part one, because it's the beginning but there wasn't a lot flying in it, which is machinima parts of it. And I thought well, we're a machinima show. So she she's, you know. So yeah, glad to do both enjoyed it. That brings me on to my second video, which is also a Top Gun video. This is a little bit more serious. It's a shot for shot recreation of the opening sequence for the new film. It more or less mirrors the opening sequence of the original film where they're on the aircraft carrier and you see the the flight crews get in the jets ready to go and they fly off and others come in and land. And

Phil Rice 07:38
spoiler alert, by the way. Yeah. If you haven't seen a movie, there are jets and aircraft carriers.

Damien Valentine 07:45
Yes. Sorry if I just bought the whole film for ya. So I'm not going to talk about the film beyond that, because it's the opening sequence of it. And if you see me, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect from this scene anyway. Again, this is another video I found completely by accident when I wasn't looking for something for this show. And it's made by with a flight simulator, which they do identify as DCS world. And my understanding is a very hardcore flight simulator. Everything is as realistic as it possibly can be. So it's not a game, you can just pick up and play casually. But I was impressed by the amount of detail that went into recreating this. Could it be easy to do a similar recreation, but this was pretty much every camera angle was identical. Even some of the numbers on the planes were the same as the ones in the film. Oh, wow. Yeah, and you got extra detail. Like the movements, the flight crew didn't hand signals, and the planes come down, there's cables on the the aircraft carrier to capture planes to stop them from going off the front. Even that's in there, and that's obviously part of the game, but just the fact that they had that as an option in consuming place. Really helps me create the scene and I wouldn't want to see the whole film recreated that way even even just the flying sequences, but I can see just doing that. It's an impressive feat. So yeah, what do you guys think?

Phil Rice 09:22
Well, I think the whole film would be a pretty ambitious thing to try because there's you know, once you get into the talky bits of it. I kind of doubt this game which amazingly according to YouTube, this game is from 2008 can you believe that? Wow. Doesn't 14 year old game and it doesn't look it at all. Yeah. I have not seen the film as I said, but it has. I believe it is shot for shot because it definitely has the feel of modern professional grade editing of shots. I mean, it is you don't have to see the film to know this is is, this is imitating the work of someone who does this for a living, you know, it's exceptional. I want effect that was particularly impressive to me. And I don't know, if it was added in post or if it's, if it's a visual effect in the game. But in some of the early shots in particular, the heat waves, the heat coming off the deck of the carrier as the planes go by, which is kind of a signature shot. I remember shots like that, in some of the scenes from the original Top Gun. It just that little detail, but it just gives you this, this real sense of its engaging all your senses, you know, as much as possible for a film. So yeah, I found it very impressive. And the age of the game is what blew my mind, I can't believe it's that old.

Damien Valentine 10:48
I didn't realise that when I see the film that just makes it even more impressive.

Tracy Harwood 10:54
Well, you know, what you also shared was a little clip of the actual opening scene on YouTube. Because I also hadn't seen the film. So that was potentially really helpful. But by the time I actually clicked it, it had already been taken down. So yeah, that was a bit unfortunate. But then I thought are just going to find another little clip of the opening scene, I managed to find a sort of a 24 hour old, Italian, Italian Open Scene. And what I then did was played them side by side. And I have to say, I was incredibly impressed with how Phenom's version had recreated the scene in this digital combat simulator world almost. Exactly. scene for scene timing, and all a lot. Excellent shots. I mean, absolutely brilliant, in the way that that it was all done, I mean, down to the detail of what was in each scene as they were being recorded live, literally playing them side by side, you could see exactly how it was done. I guess that's how they, how they actually created it in the first place. They hadn't thing running side by side. I guess the only thing I would say is, why are we seeing so many of these opening scene machinimas? And, you know, I think when in the past, when we've talked about this, we've sort of said, is it that folks are basically creating, testing their creative skills within these kinds of games, rather than extending the kind of story world, per se. I mean, what I was going to do, in our news section last week actually was mentioned a similar sort of thing to this, that had been created of Alien, where, you know, they've done pretty much exactly the same thing. They created the first scene, but using Unreal Engine. But what I don't understand is why people are doing it, what am I missing?

Phil Rice 13:05
Here's how I've come to look at it. And then Damian, I'd love to hear what you think too. But, you know, think of it as a boxer. Okay, you've got a boxer, someone who is going to be in the ring going 10 rounds with someone, but part of their routine is going to be working out with weights. And part of the routine is going to be hitting the heavy, you know, the speed bag, and part of it's going to be hitting the heavy bag and part of its, if you're Sylvester Stallone, you're going to be doing reverse crunches from the rafter of some building up north and pushing big tires over all this CrossFit stuff. You know, to me this exercise is it's a workout of certain it's only using certain muscle groups. So someone might look at someone pushing over a tire and think well that doesn't have anything to do with how to you know, beat another man half to death. Why is he doing that? Well, it's it's working certain muscle groups that need work that need building up. And I think that there's a, that's a decent metaphor for this type of project is you're not working the whole body you're not, you're not, you're not training for the overall activity. You're picking a set of skills that you need for this. And some of its already done for you. You know, the shot selection is the hardest part of this clip. That's the hardest part that requires the most skill. It's the easiest way for it to look amateurish is with bad shot selection. But that's already done. That choice has already been made. You know what to show in each scene, how to lay things out that's already been made. All you have to do is imitate but you do get to learn how the cameras work in the game. What the different focal length I mean, there's such a wide variety of shots wide to really close up. There's different movements and animations that have to happen. So to me, it's that's what it is, it's, it's a method of work out to get better at a subset of the skills that you need to be to be a good filmmaker hoping that that that will rub off on you, you know, that you don't just imitate, so that you can only learn to produce that scene for the rest of your life. It's, as you're working on that, hopefully, well, I think the hope of someone entering into that is maybe I can pick up on some of the why. Why was this chosen? Why was this shot chosen to go after this one and the next one, and what about this makes it great composition, you know, because these are, this is composition that's been done in another medium by a complete master of the craft. So to me, that's where I see the value is in it, you certainly don't want to spend your whole, you know, all of your time doing just that. I think for a creative person, it gets boring if you do it too much. But I think there's value to it, it just like, to me, if I'm wanting to be a better tennis player, doing stretching, is boring. You know, you don't want to spend your whole day stretching, eventually you want to hit the ball, you know, but if you don't stretch, you know, there's consequences to that. I think there's there's, I may be pushing it a bit. But I think that there's a an analogy there. That makes sense to me as someone who makes films or sometimes when I spend time working specifically on sound design, just for the sake of doing it or trying to make a soundscape that sounds similar to this, when I'm mixing a music track that I have recorded. A very common practice is to have reference music on one of the channels that you could switch over to you pick. If I'm doing like some kind of you know, 90s rock sound, then I might have a sound garden track that has a similar type of texture and sound that I want. And every once in a while when I'm mixing, you switch over to that reference music this is this is what's done and in recording studios, as well, for all different genres of music. And it's a matter of learning from that and practising those skills outside of a real project as as value that you hope will accrue and build up and you can apply to your own later.

Tracy Harwood 17:22
Interesting points. Thank you.

Damien Valentine 17:24
I think I'm pretty much in agreement with Phil, I mean, recreating a sequence on a Hollywood film or any sort of big budget film is a good way to learn. You don't have to recreate the whole film, but I think I did a shootout scene in one of my old projects. And I've never done a shootout scene before. So I didn't know where to place the camera angles, place the cameras or I knew where to put the characters because you know, they're gonna be this side of the room, they're gonna be hiding behind things. And on the other side, you're gonna be hiding things over there. But I didn't know where to place the cameras or how to make it cut between the two. So I went back and watched some shootout scenes in sort of films I enjoyed. I didn't copy them. But I thought I could see why they put that there because you can see them firing over the thing that you see for cover. And I think if you're going to recreate a scene from a film, it's a good way to learn, you understand why they did things like that. And especially something complex, like this Top Gun, video, okay, it's planes flying off and landing. This is a lot more complicated than that, because you have all the shots of the people running around, and the pilots doing this hand signals in the plane? And how'd you get the camera to follow the plan as it's going along the runway and taking off. Or it's things like that it's a very complex scene to create. So by recreating it like this is a good way to learn. So when you want to create your own, you know how to do it.

Phil Rice 18:55
Well, there's a language to it isn't there? We've talked about there's a language of cinema and it's part of that is the visual language of you know how the camera conveys information to us. And when you want to learn a language you don't you it's helpful to analyse text by someone who's already mastered that language. Yeah, no, to learn how to put the words together properly. And I think it's that that analogy works here as well too.

Damien Valentine 19:23
And these guys, obviously, they really enjoyed DCS. Well, again, it's playing if they want to make stories that were recreating a film that's obviously about planes. Just a secret server. That's a good way to learn because if they wanted to do a proper film about in this flight simulator, well, why not create a recreate Oh, yeah, from this very popular they'll see.

Phil Rice 19:48
Hoping it rubs off, right? Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Tracy Harwood 19:52
Great. Well, thanks for answering that. Really appreciate that. Phil, do you want to lead on Hired Steel?

Phil Rice 20:00
Yeah, this is apparent. I'm told that this is a part two of something that I picked on a prior episode. I have no memory of that whatsoever. But it's called Hired Steel, a Mech machinima. And this is episode two. And when I think of Mech games, I'm reminded of one that I played late 90s. I can't even remember what it was called. But the graphics were very, it almost looked like like Tron, you know, visible polygons, and no real texture on them, and just very primitive. And it was ridiculously complex. It was almost like learning a flight simulator to control this thing. And I it was probably the worst purchase I ever made for a video game, like in terms of, I just gave up like, really quickly, like, I don't even care. I don't want to learn how to do. And it certainly was not anything that was visually arresting at all. And that's, you know, Mech games have, let's say, I've come quite a long way since then. And the thing that's that's impressive about this is it's just, it's visually stunning. Very well directed. There's there's a nice sense of the story of the characters are surprisingly well animated and lip synced, which again, you know, that's, I'm old. That's not what I was expecting at all. So apparently I've been I've marvelled at this before, but again, I just, I don't remember, but I'm glad that I was reminded of this. And what did you guys think?

Tracy Harwood 22:02
Well, I really liked it. Actually. What I liked about it was the way the cameras were used to zoom in and give you more details of the the troops kind of moved, you know, where they were sort of zooming in from different angles and whatnot. I thought it was incredibly well done. I mean, the focus is obviously on the fighting action, where these kind of what he called them exo robots or something. I don't know what you call them. They are the next thing. Okay. Yeah, well,

Phil Rice 22:30
life cycles.

Tracy Harwood 22:31
I don't Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Whatever you call them anyway. But But I think the attention to detail as the combat scenes were, was set up was was brilliant. Actually, what I also liked about it was the sound design as well. Oh, yeah, great sound, really, really good sound. And I think actually, the other thing I would say about this is, it's really worth watching it right to the very end of the credits. Because they show you some of the storyboards they created for the scenes and how they planned to do those shots that I just mentioned, I thought it was incredibly well done, really, really enjoyed it. And Phil you did pick it for the August episode of our films review and season one. And it's clearly take them several months to produce the episodes. So because I think it only just launched when you picked it up the first time. So and this one, this one came out in February. Yeah, this one's been out a couple of months, I think it's about six months worth of work that has gone into this, which I think almost definitely shows in what you're looking at there. So great pic.

Damien Valentine 23:47
I can see why it took them so long to make it because even though it's just a very short video, it's about five minutes long it there's just so much happening, and there's a lot going on, isn't there? Yeah, it's not too much happening. It's just the right amount of stuff that's happening, and obviously would have taken a long time to figure out how they're going to. Whereas I guess it's done in a multiplayer mode, then so they can, each player is controlling different aspects of it. But to coordinate all of that, and to make sure that the guy who's controlling the camera can get it all in and as visually stunning, which I know is more down to the game. But I was just impressed by that as well. Even things like there's a secret service and missiles get fired and the smoke comes out of the missile launcher. That's not necessarily needed for detail, but it's there and add something to it. If it wasn't there, you wouldn't think about it, it is there and you notice it and it makes it look better. And so I think that they chose a really good game to create the story. Obviously the big fans of the game really well, which is obviously an essential thing to do if you want to create a really good version of a film is to me, take the time to understand the game and know what it can do and what it can't do and what all of that And the stuff and these guys have, and they produce an excellent film. And I know if we got a while to wait for the next the third chapter, but I look forward to that as well.

Phil Rice 25:11
One more thing I'll mention too, that I found particularly impressive is given that this was, from all appearances, yeah, filmed in some kind of multiplayer mode. The fact that the camera work was so good and there's there's a handheld feel to it, you know, that I don't think maybe that can be done in like After Effects or something like that. But it sure felt like that camera movement was somehow happening in the engine when it was rendered. Maybe there's some kind of built in recording system with the game but to pull that off in multiplayer, and get the get those shots, right. It's quite impressive, quite impressive work.

Damien Valentine 25:56
It's very hard to do that kind of camera work with a mouse and keyboard or whatever. Oh, yeah.

Phil Rice 26:03
Even with a controller, I mean, the precision was was just wonderful. There's there's several shots where it starts out wide and then some action happens. And it's a very quick zoom and it's just so exact. Yeah, so yeah, it was it was very impressive.

Tracy Harwood 26:18
Yeah, I really love that. I think that's been my favourite one this week. Okay, moving on. Then. I've picked a film called Star Citizen News Redline, episode two by elite expeditionary by EE Studios. Now elite expeditionary is an organisation that operates within Star Citizen which Damon you can probably tell us a bit more about this in a minute. Now Red Line is a series it's it's a bit like a cross between. Remember Chris Burke's this statin Spartan Life and Red vs Blue series one that we saw way back in those very early days of machinima. This is kind of positioned a little bit like a kind of a news review come sort of, you know, Halo ish reportage, I suppose. In this episode, though, what we've got is this reporter called Natronix out with this elite expeditionary team as they're on some kind of training exercise on a planet somewhere and in the cosmos. There's a lot of really crude humour in it. Much as you might kind of expect from

Phil Rice 27:36
probably your others. Yeah, yeah.

Tracy Harwood 27:40
You kind of you kind of definitely get that sort of realism through that, to an to an extent, if you can stand up. And basically, the thrust of the red line narrative is, is trying to kind of get under I think the skin of those citizens in the worlds rather than just showing some of the neat tech or the game engine capability. And actually, I think it's got that kind of interesting approach to it. That does kind of show off the tech really well through its narrative approach to telling these kinds of personal stories. Through the these kind of, I guess, somewhat inept eyes of the reporter. Although I think some of the episodes probably do cross a line too far in the process. There's actually five episodes in the series. So you can kind of see how the reportage progresses throughout. And I think it's actually worth watching it for possibly one point alone, because I think in the in start of this episode, what you see is that the lip sync is awful. But it actually gets better as you watch more of the episodes overall. So yeah, what did you guys think?

Phil Rice 28:49
I was jarred by the lip sync of the opening shot, I was reminded of some of the, some of the films that we've reviewed in the past where it's like, you know, if the lip sync is not that bad, then maybe don't make it the feature of the shot, you know, and with that opening shot, it's, it's and I don't know anything about how the character controller the animation works in Star Citizen. If this were done and iClone that, I'd think okay, it's almost like they they changed the the mesh of the model to where it's like a mouth breather thing, you know, where the mouth is. That's the starting point. And then all the lip sync motions haven't without he never quite closed his mouth all the way. So like, every time he says the letter M, and those lips don't ever touch. It just kept jarring me, you know, but what's weird is that there's a lip sync section at the end of this video. Yeah, where that problem isn't there. Yeah. So and I don't know the technical explanation for that, for why that was that way in the opening scene and it wasn't in the closing. Maybe they just you know, Learn how to fix it by the end of this episode and next one, it's better I don't know. But anyway, overall enjoyable a little bit a little bit slow paced, I think at times. I feel like that it could have been edited a little bit tighter. This particular episode that the, the crude joke that's kind of the, at the apex of it, just it's it's something I shouldn't laugh that but I did. Would you rather and then let me let me ask that again. Would You Rather it's just so absurd, but I think what was funniest about that joke is the reporter doesn't answer the question that's being forcibly put to him. And it just cuts in the very next scene is just the reporters kind of sitting off by himself like, almost like in PTSD mode, you know, just just like, what just happened. Not saying a thing though. To me, that's where I that's where I laughed. Yeah, really loved me more so than the joke or whatever the punch line would, would be. That to me was the punch line. And I thought, Okay, that was that was well done. Cruder than it needed to be. But that's, that's, that's a fun way to handle that. Yeah, you know, until you said it, Tracy, it didn't really strike me how much focus in this that this is a human interest piece in a video game. And that very much it's not about tech at all. Like you said, the tech is present. You know, you see it, but it's almost like a background element. It's not and that to me, that makes it a little bit more impressive. Because if we're supposed to suspend disbelief and go into this world with these people, they wouldn't be thinking about the tech the way we would Yeah, not seeing it to them that's just there every day people don't talk about the every day. You know the stuff they don't marvel at things that are normal to them and no one in this did. So it very much was about this guy just trying to to come to understand these people. Maybe even trying to ingratiate himself a little bit and be be cool like they are. And just the fact that that that those emotions are what comes through on this is quite an achievement for machinima. machinima doesn't machinima doesn't often even attempt that. Right, going deep like that, you know, much less pull it off. You know, we see some that attempt it and it just falls flat. And in this, this is this is very successful, I think for that reason that you could easily forget. Its machinima while watching it if you want it to, not for tech reasons, not for video rendering reasons, not for any of those reasons. But just if you started thinking about these people, as people, very easy to go along for the ride, like it has a believability to it. So I liked that. I liked that they're attempting that.

Tracy Harwood 33:11
Damien, what do you think?

Damien Valentine 33:12
Yeah. It's very different from some of the other Star Citizen videos you've looked at before, which there's that one. I can't recall the name of it now. But one of the father in the daughter as a crew on the ship and drift. Yeah, that was it was a very serious story. And the other one that Ricky chose way back where the guy is a comedy one was out there alone, right? Yeah. And he goes on that mission into the cave, and he finds a body. Yeah, this this is, again, something very different, which I think shows that sandbox nature of Star Citizen. And it allows you to tell these very different kinds of stories. And some of that humour in this particular one did make me wonder it but like you I, the humor was not the joke. But what came after the joke. And that, again, made me laugh more than a joke itself, which I think is probably the point actually. And it did remind me of some of his early machinima where they were kind of poking fun at themselves in the game, rather than telling a serious story in the game, which is good, because, again, it's this flexible in this, what they're doing here. The organisation Elite Expeditionary I haven't, I don't really know it, because the way the game works is, players can create their own organisations to do certain things. And it can be whatever they want. Obviously, this is a mercenary group that goes in to do combat situations, but the game isn't just about going in and blowing things up. You can play the game without firing a single shot if you want to, you can do peaceful exploration or you could just deliver cargo or if you want to, you can just sit in a bar all day in in world and chat with other players. It's kind of like that. So open world flexible. See when people have organisations to do those things, I mean, if I said that the bar could be owned by another player and they, they want to do is to basically create a huge space sandbox. So people can do what they want. You don't have to find a spaceship and blow things up. And risky life every day, you just live in this alternate world. And I think this video is a good way of capturing that because you've got the reporter feels like they're a player reporting on things happening in the world and obviously got the humour in it to make the video funny. But if you wanted to, you could be a serious game reporter in game reporter and go around covering in game events and have a serious news show if you wanted to. And I think you know, this. I thought the video was well done. And this might not be the most exciting thing, but doesn't have to be because that's not the point.

Tracy Harwood 35:57
I think your comments actually reflect what the other episodes are. Now, you can say that because they are all different sorts of scenarios. Like blowing rocks up or exploring a cave or exploring a social environment and we're having Yeah, very interesting. Okay, well, my my next little pic, I don't know what you guys make this one. This is actually a concept short film, made in Unreal Engine five by JSFilmz. And it's an entry into the Unreal, Better Light than Never Contest, which we mentioned in last week's News episode is basically a soldier walking through a darkened scene with some amazing sound design to it. Basically, he's, he's, he's walking into a dinosaur, a Velociraptor or something like that. It's an incredibly short piece. I think it's 28 seconds long. Which is? Well, I mean, the fact that you can tell a story in in such a short period of time, I think is probably one of the things that impressed me the most with this. Actually, I kind of wanted it to be a little bit longer, but I don't think it needs to be to achieve what it's done. And in the in the comments that he's got on the, on the film, you can see that what it's, it's been inspired by the, I think the 1999 Playstation survival horror action game called Dino Crisis, where you've got a plot of dinosaurs, you know, marauding over these kinds of closed environments. I think that's kind of what inspired it. And I think for me what comes over so well in this is this atmosphere that has been created you can kind of cut it with a knife, this eerie lighting, and the footfalls of the soldier and the kind of grumbling of this creature. And you can see that mocaps been used in this as well with the soldier, generally, I thought was really nice work. What do you guys think?

Damien Valentine 38:29
JSFilmz has done some excellent videos. He's got excellent tutorials that you've mentioned before. We talked about salaries at your films as well. And again, this is another one that even though it's short, he's giving us a little bit of a taste of what this can do because he likes to do sort of test videos and short videos just to see what software he's using can do and is Unreal and Omniverse and he's played around with icon and character creator and when you start watching this film, you have the soldier walking through the corridor you could if you didn't know its machinima you could probably think it was a real live action is an actor wearing this suit you don't see his face. And usually when you've got a scenario characters, it's it's the skin the face that give it away because he's got a it's got a mask on and visor so you can't see anything about him. So easily imagine that this is a real person walking through this dingy corridor, someone with a camera behind filming it. And then of course the dinosaur's there waiting for him which is perfect in a way that it's not necessarily real. But again, it's it shows what the potential is with Unreal to be able to pull off something like that is a test concept video so I'm hoping that he's gonna do more like this because it'd be interesting to see what what he's got in mind. It's kind of because it is so short. It's really hard to say anything more about it. I enjoyed it. I want to see more of what he can do with it. So I'd liked it.

Phil Rice 40:04
Yeah, he has a nine minute or so video on his channel that starts off showing this and then goes into kind of some behind the scenes of how it was made and stuff and actually showing, you know, work in the Unreal Editor and stuff like that. It's very interesting. I found the short kind of it was a little dark. I don't mean that emotionally. I mean, like visually on the screen is just a little bit too dark to wear. Dark almost to the point where there was like a, like a haze or a blur to it. Now maybe that was a stylistic choice, but it just it. I don't know, I found myself distracted by that I couldn't really. Maybe it's just these old eyes are getting getting bad or something. But I spent most of the time kind of struggling with what's what's happening. What am I what, I couldn't really see what's going on, I had to watch it a few times. So and, you know, maybe that's me. Or, but I would have, I would have enjoyed a little bit more a little bit more Christmas a little bit more highlights. You know, you don't have to bring up the ambient light of the whole scene. That's the point is that it's dark and kind of scary. But it just it felt a little bit washed out with darkness, I guess. But as far as execution, everything you guys have mentioned is it's definitely there, it's wouldn't be surprised to learn that some of this animation was done with mocap because it's very realistic. His movement. The dinosaur, I don't think that was mocap. I don't

Damien Valentine 41:56
say that. But the new version of iClone has a T Rex has human motion. So you can do mocap for it, which I haven't done yet. But I want to try it.

Phil Rice 42:05
I'm planning on getting one of those one of those adult inflatable costume costumes, and just doing all my dinosaur work using that live action.

Tracy Harwood 42:19
I look forward to seeing that

Phil Rice 42:20
tuned. Yeah. So anyway, I don't know. I guess there has to be, you know, at least one film in Ricky's tradition, there has to be one film that that somebody doesn't like as much. So this is it has just kind of meh.

Tracy Harwood 42:34
Okay, that's fair enough. I mean, I agree with you on the darkness. But yeah, I quite liked it. Anyway, that's it for this month's film reviews. Thank you very much for your input. Both of you really appreciate it. We hope you've enjoyed the film selection as much as we did, with the exception of the latter one Phil. If you see anything you think we should be taking a look at including anything you've done yourself due please get in touch. You can find all the usual communication methods on our website at completely We're also on YouTube, Facebook, Discord, Twitter and even on Tik Tok, although I confess, I'm still trying to figure that one out. But I'm going to be calling on my 14 year old niece for a little bit of assistance on that.

Tracy Harwood 43:22
Anyway, just before we go there is one thing that I wanted to mention which is that next week we have a really fascinating interview for you with David Blandy whose work you may recall we reviewed last month How to Fly like a cormorant. So don't miss that he's an absolutely fascinating person to hear speak. And he's probably one of the most successful media artists currently using machinima as part of his creative practice that that certainly I've seen for many years.

Tracy Harwood 43:53
Anyway, that's it for us this month. Have fun and see you next time. Bye bye

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